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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.
I want to be alone and work until the day my heads hits the drawing table and I’m dead. Kaput. Everything is over. Everything that I called living is over. I’m very, very much alone. I don’t believe in heaven or hell or any of those things. I feel very much like I want to be with my brother and sister again. They’re nowhere. I know they’re nowhere and they don’t exist, but if nowhere means that’s where they are, that’s where I want to be.
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Maurice Sendak

Sendak with a beloved characterThe celebrated author of Where the Wild Things Are and other award-winning children’s literature just released Bumble-Ardy at the age of 83. He recently lost several loved ones, including his long-time partner, and shares his thoughts on opening up to his mortality with The Associated Press.

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Repossessing Virtue: Greg Epstein on Human Solutions and Not Divine Ones
» download (mp3, 11:47)
Rob McGinley Myers, Associate Producer

We last spoke to Greg Epstein in the wake of a Pew poll on the American religious landscape, finding that 16 percent of Americans identified themselves as unaffiliated, atheist, agnostic, or nothing in particular. Greg Epstein is the humanist chaplain at Harvard University, and he has been an emerging leader in trying to unify that growing population of the non-religious — to create a community driven not by a stance against religion, but by positive ethical beliefs and actions.

So as we turned to Greg Epstein again, we wanted to know how he’s seen his community experiencing the current economic crisis. Epstein once defined humanism as “philosophy of life without supernaturalism that affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment aspiring to the greater good of humanity.” It turns out that the current economic crisis has refocused his community’s vision of what that “greater good” should look like.

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"Not Bad for an Atheist"
Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

We called out for your suggestions for the five-word acceptance speech at the Webby Awards. We received hundreds of suggestions on the blog and via e-mail. I had a few favorites — some slightly brash (“Two are better than one.”), others literate (“Our barbaric yawp was heard.”), and a few wise ones (“Knowledge speaks but wisdom listens”).

In the end, I was challenged by a trusted friend to practice what I preach to Krista and our staff: disclose and reveal. The Webbys are a tad irreverent, and, being a bit of a showman who aims to please the crowd, I opted for a humorous, somewhat ironic five words — knowing the sequencing progression from our 2005 win helped.

To be honest, I became a tad anxious after I delivered it, worrying that Krista or some of you might take offense. Thankfully, she was gracious upon my return; hopefully you will be too. I’d love to hear your comments.

The video above was taken with a digital phone and uploaded directly to our Vimeo account. As you can see, our table was only 20-odd rounders to the right of Stephen Colbert, David Byrne, will.i.am, and other celebs. “Just a bit outside…” (to quote Bob Ueker in Major League).

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A List Apart

Trent Gilliss, Online Editor

The List Universe assembles all types of “top 15” lists. Well, they’ve started a series on religious and atheist thinkers. I couldn’t help note the contrast in quotes from the great 13th-century philosopher Thomas Aquinas:

"Wonder is the desire for knowledge."

and one of America’s great 20th-century writers, Ernest Hemingway:

"All thinking men are atheists."
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